I’ve declared it already: 2016 was the best year ever. Since 2011, I’ve summarized my travel-filled years (see my posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015), but no year has ever come close to 2016 in terms of the amount of travel I’ve been able to fit in. Brace yourselves: this may be a long one!
Many visitors to Indonesia’s choose Bali as their destination, and, as I found out this March, it’s a remarkable place, well-deserving of its status as Indonesia’s most popular island. However, Indonesia consists of up to 18,306 islands stretching across 3,181 miles/5,120 kilometers, so there is no shortage of idyllic destinations to explore. Looking to explore an alternative Indonesian location away from the throngs of tourists that places like Bali experience year-round? Consider Cianjur.
Eighty days and eight countries later, my Southeast Asia trip has come to an end. I fly to Japan tomorrow and then onward to Paris, with a day in Abu Dhabi in between. For a part of the world I had never given much thought to until the last few years, Southeast Asia has stolen my heart. My next destinations will certainly be a massive change of scenery, so I thought I’d reflect on some of the things I will and won’t miss about Southeast Asia.
Call me a philistine, but, prior to my stay at Watermark, never had I ever treated myself to a professional massage. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive. Lie on a bed and have a stranger touch me all over while rubbing oils into my back? If you’ve never experienced it yourself, you have to admit it sounds pretty weird. But, obviously, most of the world raves about the luxurious pleasure of massages, so it was time to give one a try.
While I’ll be the first to defend hostels, there’s nothing quite like treating yourself to a little luxury every once in a while when traveling. Where better to pamper yourself than Bali, so I spent my last two nights on the Indonesian island in the lovely Watermark Hotel & Spa in Jimbaran. Read on for my thoughts!
Loud, crowded, hot, and humid. That’s how I expected many parts of Southeast Asia to be, and, on my first day in Indonesia, it was already living up to expectations as sweat dripped down my face while I weaved through people hunting desperately for my hostel on a street with no numbers. To be fair, I had kicked off this leg of the trip in Kuta, Bali, which is known mostly for being a drunken backpacker party spot, not exactly the atmosphere I was looking for.
Those preconceptions were quickly whisked away when I arrived in and settled into the small island of Gili Trawangan the next day, the topic for a future post. Returning to Bali after, I gradually began to embrace the road traffic and crowded tourist spots as part of the culture. Nonetheless, a quiet sanctuary was just what I was looking for to prepare myself for the next few months in Asia, and I certainly found it at Ubud Dedari Villas.